Mayor Kasim Reed got the crowd fired up with chants of “Uncle Arthur” before team president Arthur Blank, club president Darren Eales and American Family Insurance CEO Jack Salzwedel addressed the more than 2,000 people who attended.
“Tonight was incredible,” Blank said. “It was a reflection of Atlanta, a reflection of the support and the enthusiasm from the time of the announcement several years ago. It’s been unbelievable.”
Jerseys were being sold in The Tabernacle, as well as the team store in Atlantic Station and online at www.atltud.com.
The Authentic jerseys will feature 2017 with the words inaugural season across the nape of the neck, and the crest on the front will feature a brighter gold. The Replica version of the jerseys don’t feature those two unique elements.
Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino said he’s never seen support like he saw on Tuesday for an expansion club with no history. It was a sentiment shared by McCann and Villalba.
“I think it’s a beautiful kit, it’s wonderful,” Villalba, who appreciates fashion, said through a translator.
The team’s away kit will be unveiled in February. The academy players will wear the home jerseys, also.
Blank said he saw the jersey once before the unveiling. It was shown to him at his house and was modeled by his son Josh, a soccer player.
“It looked magnificent,” Blank said. “I personally love the kits and most importantly our fans love it. It’s what we are about unity, yet conquer. That’s really the history of Atlanta to support diverstiy, bring in diversity, support that unity, which is always important and particularly important in these times, and to be a championship team.”
Eales said the team went through several concepts.
“We wanted something that was both traditional but progressive,” Eales said.
Only one club in MLS, Montreal, currently has stripes. Eales said they feel that seeing the red-and-black stripes in America will make people automatically think of Atlanta United.
Atlanta United will begin play in MLS next year. It has already sold more than 22,000 season tickets — second-most in the league behind Seattle — and will play in Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium until construction is complete on Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is supposed to happen sometime in the summer. It will train at the team’s headquarters in Marietta, which are also under construction and expected to open February.
The team will have the first pick in the expansion draft, which will be held in Dec. 13. The draft will be held Jan. 13 in Los Angeles, preceded by the combine. The league’s preseason begins Jan. 23.